The best way to bulk delete Shopify products

The best way to bulk delete Shopify products

Need a simple way to bulk delete products from your Shopify store? Learn the difference between archiving and deleting Shopify products and best practices for both.
Written by Mandy Bray
Jan 29, 2024
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Whether you’re discontinuing a product line or removing seasonal items, a day will come when you need to bulk delete products from your Shopify store.

Before you hit the delete button, though, let’s take a minute to understand all the ways to remove products from your online store and which approach is best for different scenarios. As a bonus, learn how to bulk delete variants, tags, and metafields to save time.

Archiving vs. deleting products on Shopify

There are two ways to delist a product from your Shopify store: deleting and archiving. Both actions remove the product from the front end of your store, but there’s an important distinction on the back end. Deleting a product removes it completely from your store data, while archiving it removes it, but keeps its data.

What does archiving a product do in Shopify?

When you archive a product on Shopify, it removes it from your storefront but hides it from the default products view in Shopify admin. You can find, edit, and reactivate archived products in the “Archived” tab of your “Products” page.

Why archive a Shopify product instead of deleting it?

  • You have a backup in case you accidentally delete an item
  • You can reactivate the product if you get it back in stock
  • You keep access to your product data, including analytics
  • You retain access to your product images

What does archiving a product do in Shopify?

When you archive a product on Shopify, it removes it from your storefront but hides it from the default products view in Shopify admin. You can find, edit, and reactivate archived products in the “Archived” tab of your “Products” page.

Can you recover a deleted product in Shopify?

No, products deleted from Shopify admin are permanently gone and cannot be recovered. We can sometimes recover non-image data deleted through the Ablestar Bulk Product Editor app, but it’s never a guarantee. That’s why it’s critical to archive products before deleting them to avoid accidental data loss.

When you delete a product, its images are also removed from Shopify. If you export your product data to a spreadsheet before deleting the products, you can’t rely on the image URLs in the export still being valid after the product is deleted.

How to archive products on Shopify

Need to remove some products from your store? There are three ways to archive a product on Shopify.

1. Archive a product individually

Go to “Products” from Shopify admin. Click on the product you want to archive, then click “Archive product.”

2. Perform a bulk action

Shopify doesn’t give you a way to bulk archive products directly in Shopify. Instead, you have to do this with multiple steps.

  1. First, go to “Products” and use checkboxes to select the products you want to remove.
  2. A bulk action panel will appear at the bottom of the screen. Click on the three dots () to view additional bulk actions.
  3. Click on the “Archive product” action. Shopify will archive these products in the background. Depending on the number of products this may take a while to complete.
Filter Shopify products in Bulk Product Editor

3. Bulk archive with an app

To archive multiple products, the smoothest way is to use an app like Ablestar Bulk Product Editor. Bulk Product Editor gives a user-friendly interface (no spreadsheet unless you want one!) to filter, select, and edit products.

In Bulk Product Editor, select the products you want to edit using filters like collection, brand name, date posted, or keywords like “holiday”. Then under editable fields, select “Status” and change the status from “Active” to “Archived”. You can watch the progress of the update and undo your edit with one click.

How to filter Shopify products to bulk delete them

How to bulk delete products on Shopify

If you have a reason to permanently delete products from Shopify, like hitting the variant limit for your plan or clearing out years-old archives, here’s how to do it. Tip: We recommend archiving your products first before deleting. This is a bit like adding files to your trash bin for 30 days before deleting permanently: It gives you a backup and protects your business.

1. Use Shopify admin

You can bulk delete products in Shopify using the bulk action feature:

  1. Go to “Products” and use checkboxes to select the products you want to delete.
  2. Click “More actions” and “Delete selected products”.
  3. Shopify will ask you to confirm this one more time before proceeding.

While straightforward, this method can be problematic. You can’t see the progress of your update and it often stops halfway through, leaving some of the items still active (though you aren’t sure which). For more information, visit our Shopify limitations and bulk editing guides.

A step-by-step guide to bulk delete products in Shopify with Bulk Product Editor

2. Bulk delete with Bulk Product Editor

Another way to bulk delete products is through the Bulk Product Editor app for Shopify. In the interface, simply filter and select the items you want to delete. For instance, you could search for out-of-stock items created more than six months ago.

Once you’ve selected these items, “delete selected items” and run the product edit. You can see the progress of your edit, resume it if it pauses, and manage your products with confidence.

Watch this video walkthrough for a step-by-step guide.

how-to-bulk-delete-shopify-youtube
How to Bulk Delete Some (or All) of your Shopify Products with Ablestar Bulk Product Editor

Bonus tips: How to bulk delete variants, tags, and metafields in Shopify

When your store your product has thousands of variants, managing them can become a huge time drain. Here are some ways to save yourself time managing products by bulk deleting or bulk archiving individual elements of your product data.

  • Bulk delete variants. Shopify has no way for you to bulk delete variants in its native interface. If you discontinue a size or color, you have to delete it product by product. You can get around this by bulk deleting variants with the Bulk Product Editor app.
  • Bulk delete tags. If you’re reorganizing your store or simply cleaning out old and duplicate tags, there’s a faster way to do it. Use a bulk action in Shopify or Bulk Product Editor to delete both product and order tags.
  • Bulk delete metafields. If you store product data like shipping or supplier information as metafields, bulk editing or removing these is simple. Use either Shopify’s built-in bulk editor or Bulk Product Editor to bulk delete metafields.
  • Delete all products. Making an ecommerce migration? You can use the steps above to delete all products in your Shopify store. Just make sure you’ve exported and backed everything up first.
How to bulk edit Shopify products
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Bulk delete Shopify

Simplify your online store management

If you’re feeling the time creep of managing products in Shopify, that’s a sign that you need to take back your time. Put systems and tools in place to simplify your product management and shift the focus to growing your business.

Why wait? Save time and edit products in bulk with Ablestar Bulk Product Editor. Try it today.

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